Rainbow pride flag. (Credit:  Quinn Dombrowski/ Flickr)
Rainbow pride flag. (Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/ Flickr)

Toms River’s Exit 82 Theatre Company will host the third annual Toms River Pride festival June 13, celebrating the Jersey Shore region’s LGBT community, organizers said.

The theatre company is planning the celebration along with local partners. The Covid-19 compliant event will take place on Washington Street between Main Street and Hooper Avenue in Toms River’s Downtown District from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with live performances happening outdoors and at Exit 82 Theatre throughout the day. A drag show fundraiser to benefit Toms River Pride is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, June 12, with details to follow.

“As an Ocean County LGBTQ+ safe space, we’re proud that Toms River Pride has been embraced as a new, inclusive tradition in which all can partake,” event organizers and Exit 82 Theatre Company founders Billy Cardone and Keely Davenport said in an announcement. “With the privilege to celebrate comes a reminder that there is still work to be done to make our society more inclusive, like ensuring our transgender and [people of color] brethren are protected and valued.”


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This year’s program includes the opening ceremony announcement of the inaugural Pride Advocate Award that, through a public nomination process, acknowledges New Jersey’s most impactful LGBTQ+ advocates and allies in the community. Throughout the day, the event will feature live entertainment and drag shows, family-friendly activities, partner activations, educational resources, and promotions by local businesses and restaurants downtown and across the county. Supporters are encouraged to participate in a Pride Month Visibility Campaign by displaying rainbow colors at home and on businesses, vehicles, boats and outfits for the month of June.

Those who wish to participate in Toms River Pride can attend with friends and family, become an official Pride Partner, Vendor or Sponsor, host a fundraiser or volunteer, make a Pride Advocate Award nomination, follow the @TomsRiverPride Facebook page for updates, join remotely via live-streamed shows, and make a donation to the host organization.

All participants must comply with the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 guidelines.

More Information and Schedule:

Program (More Will Be Added):

  • 11 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
  • 11:30 a.m. – Festival Opens
  • 4 p.m. – Drag Shows
  • 5 p.m. – Festival Closes

Sponsors:

  • Grunin Foundation & B98.5 FM (Media Partner)
  • Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, LLC

Partners & Vendors:

  • Toms River Township
  • Ocean County
  • Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce
  • Garden State Equality
  • PFLAG Jersey Shore
  • Ocean County Library
  • Ocean Partnership for Children
  • Jersey Shore BlueClaws